Rural Volunteer Pastor: 'Blessed to Serve God'

An image of hands "holding" the sun
An image of hands "holding" the sun
By Su Ran June 17th, 2022

Thanks to her leg problems, a female believer served God as a volunteer pastor after learning about theology on the radio.

Born in the 1980s, Zhao grew up in a poor family in Jiangsu Province. As her mother could hardly do anything with a congenital psychological disorder, she dropped out of school at the age of 14 to work in a garment factory in Zhejiang to help her father financially.

Unfortunately, she suffered from knee pains in one leg after less than half a year, either due to working there at too young an age or from a lack of nutrition. After being misdiagnosed and prescribed with the incorrect treatment and medication, she was bedridden with swollen legs during the worst years of her illness. She had to bathe daily to alleviate skin itches all over her body caused by the drug treatment. Falling into deep despair, she intended to end her own life several times due to being repeatedly tortured by the disease.

"The first time I got sick, I thought of my Grandmother who occasionally took me to the church. I was in good health when she was alive. Though I didn’t know much about faith, I have a good impression of her faith," Zhao said.

Later, Zhao asked her father to send her to attend church services and pick her up later when he finished work. "But it wasn’t long before church members began to accuse my father of loving money more than me and let him stay there with me. Seeing that I wasn’t getting better, he no longer took me to church."

However, the amazing thing was that after a year, she miraculously recovered without a scar on her skin. Not long after, because of cold medications she took, the disease relapsed, which occurred twice.      

At home, she listened to the radio to learn about the outside world. Once, she happened to hear a sermon on Liangyou Radio (Good Friend Radio) and the hymn "Lord, You Are My Best Friend". She felt that she had caught a life-saving straw and found the courage to live on. So she wrote a letter to Liangyou Theological Seminary to apply for undergraduate courses, and she graduated in 2016.

Until 2020, invited by a staff member, she served as a volunteer pastor as she found the shortage of pastoral staff in village churches.

Seeing her limitations, she continued to learn to improve herself. She believed that without the word of God she might have given up her life long ago and that she would not have committed herself to Jesus if she hadn’t fallen ill.

In addition to being a volunteer pastor, Zhao also made some headdresses and car hanging accessories in her spare time to sell in the market. "At the end of last year, I earned 5,000 yuan in four days," she said that the money was almost enough to cover her expenses for the coming year and her father might feel reassured.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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